Series: Speakeasy Taproom (Page 1 of 2)

BOOK REVIEW: Safeguard (Speakeasy Taproom #9) by Stephanie Rose

BOOK REVIEW: Safeguard (Speakeasy Taproom #9) by Stephanie RoseSafeguard (Speakeasy Taproom #7)
by Stephanie Rose
Purchase on: AmazoniBooks
Add to: Goodreads


Jilted. Living in a glorified closet. The world’s worst bar waitress. I just need to keep a roof over my head and make tuition payments until I can finish graduate school. Then my real life will start. But right now, long nights at the Speakeasy have me burning the candle at both ends and the wax melting all over my fingers.

When a bar manager offers me a job taking care of his adorable five-year-old daughter, it seems like the perfect solution. I get a quiet place to study. Matteo gets a reliable sitter.

There should be no complications. Except that I like my new boss a little too much. His gorgeous dark eyes humble me, and the long talks we share fill me up inside. I can’t possibly fall for him.

But the undeniable pull between us leads to a scorching kiss I can’t ignore or forget, and suddenly I’ve fallen for them both, father and daughter.

And now three hearts are at stake.


From the very SECOND that single-dad Matteo was mentioned in Touchstone I KNEW that I needed this story. I’m so glad it was the last one in the series because I really felt it rounded everything out perfectly. Everything about this book was beyond what I could have hoped for.

Matteo himself? Perfect.

Matteo’s relationship with his daughter, Lauren? Perfect.

Melanie and how seamlessly she transitioned into their lives? PERFECT.

I have come to realize that there are certain tropes or situations in romances that I cannot handle. One of those is what I dub “the pointless miscommunication.” Although miscommunications are a HUGE part of romances and relationships in general, there is a line I draw when it’s just thrown into the plot to bring about a point of drama. Heck, even when it does make sense, I’m just not often in the mood for that anymore. I was worried I was going to see that here actually when a certain character came back to town but it was a non-issue and I rejoiced.

Even though I haven’t read a ton of books where there’s a single parent with a kid/kids, I just assume that things are bound to get messy because honestly, how couldn’t they?! Introducing a partner to kids can be a huge point of contention, especially if they are old enough to know what is going on. With Lauren, the situation was unique because she had never known her mom and Matteo was such a great dad/parent, that there wasn’t even really a hole there for her. That being said, I don’t think that was fully the reason that she was okay with Melanie so fast. No, I think that’s all on Melanie being the kind and special person she was. I loved every single one of their interactions and honestly just tearing up thinking about those two getting married and becoming a family and maybe even giving Lauren some siblings some day *cries*. HIGHLY RECOMMEND THIS ENTIRE SERIES!

Huge thanks to Heart Eyes Press for allowing me to read this eARC in exchange for my honest review!&hearts

BOOK REVIEW: Stargazer (Speakeasy Taproom #8) by Wendy S. Marcus

BOOK REVIEW: Stargazer (Speakeasy Taproom #8) by Wendy S. MarcusStargazer (Speakeasy Taproom #8)
by Wendy S. Marcus
Purchase on: AmazoniBooks
Add to: Goodreads


Randall Dickson is coping. Sort of. An upcoming medical eval, one that could end his military career, has him stressed and making bad choices. So when a concerned friend issues a strongly-worded “invitation” to Vermont, R.D. is all in for a change of scenery, a temporary job as a bartender, and the opportunity to shake himself out of his self-destructive routine.

Then he sets eyes on his seriously sexy new co-worker…

Lily Reynolds, an artist by day, Speakeasy’s favorite bartender at night, works hard to stay positive, unlike her surly new coworker. He may be a treat to look at, but that grumpy attitude and terse manner are not her type. So when Lily finds herself in desperate need of someone to share expenses, she convinces R.D. to rent her vacant room. There’s no way she’ll find herself falling for him.

She’d like to find the secret admirer who’s leaving her secret love notes around the bar, though. But he won’t reveal himself...

This standalone contains: opposites who definitely attract, a workplace romance, and an opinionated French bulldog.


OKAYYYY. SO. At this point I have read TWENTY FOUR freaking books between the four different series that make up The World of True North and I think this might be my top favorite. I know, that’s a pretty bold claim. BUT….once you all read R.D. and Lily’s story I think you’ll understand.

Everything about their book was sheer and utter perfection. The two of them shouldn’t make any sense together and yet they do. And it’s beautiful. And really fucking hot. And Lily’s little French bulldog is in love with R.D. and if that itself doesn’t make you ALSO fall in love with him, I don’t know what will.

Going into this book we have only seen Lily before, seeing as she is one of Speakeasy’s favorite bartenders for her upbeat personalities and inspiring quotes that she loves putting up on a white board every day before her shift starts. I knew there was going to be more to her story than someone who was just positive and happy every minute of the day so finding out more appealed to me. Enter R.D. Randy Dick. lollll He and our old pal Griff Shipley had been friends back in college and when R.D. makes the mistake of reaching out to an old dealer to get pain pills for an accident than occurred over a year ago, Griff catches wind and “forces” him to come to Colebury to work at Speakeasy for a bit.

The two work together for a bit and then R.D. winds up moving in after Lily’s terrible ex moves out. I loved how Lily immediately confided in him, big things that she never told other people who had been in her life for longer. Even just the fact that she gave him a key to her workshop. That was a big trust move right there. The almost-moments they had too were so appealing. Who doesn’t love a good ~oh we promised we wouldn’t have sex but now we’re drowning in all this sexual tension and how long are we going to last before we break and do something about it~ dynamic? *Chefs kiss*

I don’t even know what more to say about this book other than to again just reiterate how obsessed I was with it and how I am both excited and devastated to be starting the final book in the series next. This is one I will for be re-reading many a time!

Huge thanks to Heart Eyes Press for allowing me to read an eARC of this in exchange for my honest review!

BOOK REVIEW: Starlight (Speakeasy Taproom #7) by Christine DePetrillo

BOOK REVIEW: Starlight (Speakeasy Taproom #7) by Christine DePetrilloStarlight (Speakeasy Taproom #7)
by Christine DePetrillo
Purchase on: AmazoniBooks
Add to: Goodreads


He doesn’t trust women. She only trusts dogs. Why can’t they keep their paws off each other?

Darren Reade builds stone walls in Vermont--and around his heart. Women don’t stick around, so it’s better to put up No Trespassing signs and focus on raising his adopted son. Darren is willing to do whatever it takes to help the boy cope with his mother’s death. But doing it alone is a challenge.

Grace Hollings indulges her love of old-school jazz by singing nights at the Speakeasy Taproom, and spends her days training service dogs, connecting small humans with smart pooches. Of course she’d planned to be married already, but a failed engagement has taught her that dogs make better company than men.

One evening, Grace and Darren don’t exchange names, but they do engage in a single night neither of them will forget. Is once all there is? Or can they train their hearts to trust what they’ve built under the starlight?


Thissssss!!!! This is the kind of romance I LIVE FOR. It had steam, it had passion, it had an entire spectrum of emotions, it had service puppies, it had the most adorable family dynamic. IT WAS EVERYTHINGGGGG. The best part about all of these series in The World of True North is catching glimpses of these characters in previous books, wondering if/when you’ll get their story. Darren and his son Kolton were mentioned a few times in Firefly and of course Grace was too as she worked with Melody at Speakeasy.

Getting to learn about Darren and Kolton’s story was so emotional. I won’t go into it as you will find out yourselves pretty early on but the fact that Darren takes care of Kolton like he does and loves THAT DEEP is a beautiful, beautiful thing. The boy suffers from intense bouts of trauma and anxiety and it was recommended to Darren by Kolton’s school that they try getting a service dog from a local place in town.

When he shows up to find Grace, the woman he recently spent a passionate birthday night with, as one of the two employees who trains the dogs, the two are both surprised and excited to have been thrown into one another’s paths again.

My favorite part about this book was how instantaneously Kolton took to Grace. Because of the genuine person she was AND because she has worked with many people with different and special needs at that point, she knew just how to immediately interact with Kolton. Melted my freaking heart, let me tell you.

The drama portion of this book really was through no fault of Darren or Grace’s which was nice, even if it still impacted them and their relationship for a small bit of time. The string of events that led them back together, though? THAT is what made me cry, and in the best way. I am so happy that this series is coming to a finish on such a strong note. I have been so happy to be introduced to so many new authors because of this World of True North project and am so excited for this to be out for everyone to read!

Huge thanks to Heart Eyes Press for allowing me to read an eARC of this in exchange for my honest review!

BOOK REVIEW: Wildflower (Speakeasy Taproom #5) by Mae Wood

BOOK REVIEW: Wildflower (Speakeasy Taproom #5) by Mae WoodWildflower (Speakeasy Taproom #5)
by Sarina Bowen
Purchase on: Amazon
Add to: Goodreads


When the prize is love, sometimes you get stung. But if you’re lucky, you just might hit the sweet spot…

Juliana Burton needs a medal at Speakeasy's beer festival to push her brand-new brewery into the spotlight. She thinks she knows how to do it, too--with a beer made exclusively from Vermont hops, barley and the best honey in the state. Too bad the only thing standing in her way is a six feet tall, smokin’ sexy, and her secret high school crush.

After a very public disaster in Boston, Riggs Lyon is home with his teenage son in tow. Riggs is taking over the family beekeeping business with an eye to offload it and start life over somewhere where "Lyin' Lyon" isn't a joke. Selling honey to Juliana doesn't make business sense. She can't afford the high prices Lyon honey fetches in specialty shops and farmer's markets. But somehow, he’s having trouble saying no to anything she asks for, whether it’s in the hive or in the bedroom.


I am OBSESSED with this one!

I have always been a sucker for those stories when one of the characters has had a crush on the other for YEARS but things didn’t work out and they are able to come back together, years later, and finally connect. And actually even then it’s usually just a few years while they were away at college, whereas with these two it’s been about 20. I’ve actually read a few books/fics lately that feature characters who get a second chance at love when they’re in their 40s and I love it. Even if kids are involved, at that point they usually are old enough that they just want their parent to be happy and for the character themselves, they just know what they want out of life and they usually don’t want to waste time.

The two may get off to a semi-rocky start, mostly involving old family drama, but it doesn’t take long for things to come to a head. And when it does–phew. It’s hot. Again, at this point in both Juliana and Riggs’s lives, they know what they want (in this case in bed) and are not afraid to ask for what they want and give as good as they’ve got. That first scene between them was way hotter than I anticipated and I was very happy about it, lol.

Of course I did also enjoy seeing life on the Lyons’ apiary and Julie’s brewery coming to life and learning about what it means to be a solely woman run business, especially in an area that ALWAYS predominantly features beer-bros. Those ladies were so badass and I loved the process of naming the beers (EXCEPT I WANTED VERMOST TO STICK SO BAD LOL), brewing them, bringing them to the competitions, etc.

Once again a great addition to The World of True North!

Huge thanks to Heart Eyes Press for allowing me to read an eARC of this book in exchange for my honest opinion ♥

BOOK REVIEW: Heartwood (Speakeasy Taproom #2) by J.H. Croix

BOOK REVIEW: Heartwood (Speakeasy Taproom #2) by J.H. CroixHeartwood (Speakeasy Taproom)
by J.H. Croix
Purchase on: AmazoniBooks
Add to: Goodreads


She needs a fresh start. He wants a second chance…

My new job as a chef in a small town was supposed to be my ticket to peace and quiet. I didn’t expect to run into the former hockey star who gave me the hottest nights of my life. And, oops, he’s sort-of my new boss. So much for keeping my past where it belongs.

Ty still thinks I’m the fun party girl. He has no idea how much things have changed. One thing that hasn’t changed: the spark between us. It’s hotter than the blowtorch I use on my crème brûlée.

I’m already keeping secrets, so what’s one more? Our tryst is forbidden, it’s fun, and it gets complicated as fast as you can say “check, please.” I didn’t expect to have a future with Ty. And I definitely didn’t expect to have a baby with him.

Some falls are harder than others. But it depends on who’s there to catch you...


Once again, what a winnerrrrrrr.

And talk about learning new things. I swear this entire World of True North project has been exposing me to characters that I have never read about in romances before and I LOVE seeing them represented. Ty had a pretty standard childhood with a shitty dad who cheated on his mom and has trouble with deep romantic connections because of it. Belle on the other hand discovered she has Bipolar disorder when she was deep in a manic phase in college and stole one of her professor’s cars without realizing she had done anything wrong. Because she had been on such a high before that with success in Law School, her confidence took a HUGE hit and she is constantly second guessing herself.

It was actually quite the interesting coincidence because my husband and I have been re-watching Shameless and we’re actually on the season where Ian gets diagnosed and is trying to deal with that and figure out meds and Monica makes an appearance as well. Not knowing anyone personally who deals with Bipolar disorder, seeing it affect these people differently was pretty eye-opening.

I also liked that this was a sort-of second chance romance in the sense that Belle and Ty actually had known each other in college and had hooked up several times back then. While they didn’t ever really have a “falling out” when they went their separate ways, neither one of them had forgotten each other either. That of course did kind of affect their relationship in the present in the sense that Belle was nervous that Ty would have this different view of her since he knew her back when she was on her high versus knowing her now. Ty took that all in stride and never let that change how he thought of her at all.

There are of course a few points of tension, as there almost always is in romances. While I wouldn’t say I disliked how things ended, I did weirdly feel like the characters changed a little bit with how things were executed at the end. I spent the entire book feeling like they were solidly into adulthood and then suddenly a few major things happen and they suddenly were reading like super young people fresh out of high school?? I don’t even know how to describe it other than it feeling slightly disjointed for me. Either way I liked the book overall and need moreeeee!

Huge thanks to Heart Eyes Press for allowing me to read this eARC in exchange for my honest opinion

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